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The Land F/X SketchUp Connection: Basics

Aug 14, 2015
Video Length:  01:17:08
Presented By:  Amanda Berry
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Are you looking to integrate 3D modeling into your existing design process? In this basic workflow, we go over the procedure to export a basic site and planting plan from AutoCAD over to SketchUp. We also show you how to use some basic SketchUp tools, as well as additional features included in the Land F/X tool available from the SketchUp Extension Warehouse.To get the most out of this webinar, we strongly recommend that you first:

Webinar Contents:

Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)

  • Intro/TOC
  • Setting Up SketchUp for Quick Drafting
  • Preparing the CAD Base
  • Sending the Base Through the SketchUp Connection
  • Building the Base in SketchUp
  • Importing Plants and Reference Notes (RefNotes)
  • Other Connection Tools

0:00 – 4:50: Intro/TOC

4:51 – 25:47: Setting Up SketchUp for Quick Drafting

The SketchUp interface and toolbars (5:52)

Accessing the toolbars by selecting Toolbars from the View menu, and closing the Getting Started toolbar  (6:30)

 

Examples of helpful toolbars to open (7:10):

  • Large Tool Set: keeps all tools open and together for easy location
  • Layers: makes it easy to work with layers in SketchUp and tells which layer a specific object is on
  • Measurements: helps you determine the dimensions of objects in your SketchUp models
  • Sandbox modeling tools: covered in the Intermediate and Advanced SketchUp webinars
  • Section: allows you to make sections quickly when creating details
  • Shadows: gives you control over the placement of shadows in your models
  • Standard: includes some of the most commonly used SketchUp tools such as Save, Copy/Paste, Undo/Redo, etc.
  • Styles: allows you to shade objects, add textures, see objects in X-ray view, etc.
  • Views: allows you to switch between plan, front, and back views

 

SketchUp hot keys and shortcuts (take the time to memorize these shortcuts – they’ll save you huge amounts of time) (9:45)

Hot keys (10:35):

  • Spacebar: acts like ESC in AutoCAD and allows you to select objects quickly
  • (Erase): use with Shift to hide an object; use with CTRL to smooth an object
  • (Line): draw and select lines
  • (Rectangle): draw and select rectangles – also works with measurements and dimensions
  • (Circle): draw and select circles
  • (Arc) (draw and select arcs
  • (Move): move objects; also, tapping CTRL turns the Copy feature on and off
  • (Push/Pull): push object faces down and pull them up
  • (Rotate): rotate objects around a central reference point
  • (Offset): creates an offset, as in CAD, and creates a new face around it
  • (Scale): resize objects by scaling them up or down
  • (Tape): measure lengths of objects
  • (Create Component): make a component of an object

 

 

Things to watch out for in SketchUp (19:15):

  • No two-letter shortcuts in SketchUp as in CAD – only one-letter shortcuts
  • In SketchUp, holding down the mouse wheel causes you to orbit. Holding down the mouse wheel and Shift together causes you to pan. In CAD, these commands are reversed.

 

 

The SketchUp windows (accessed from the Windows menu) (22:00)

A few example windows that we recommend having open:

  • Entity Info
  • Components
  • Layers
  • Scenes
  • Materials
  • Styles
  • …and sometimes Shadows and Fog

 

Note: We highly recommend drawing the bulk of your landscape plans in CAD rather than SketchUp. CAD is much more accurate and allows you to work faster. (23:50)

 

 

When to draw linework in SketchUp (24:18):

Finessing the model with lines you wouldn’t normally see in AutoCAD

Modeling an actual component or things you’re going to detail

Fix errors resulting from importing from CAD to SketchUp

25:48 – 41:19: Preparing the CAD Base

Setting a SketchUp symbol for a block in your CAD drawing using the Block Data tool (26:30)

 

 

Note: Although the SketchUp plant symbols have names, feel free to use any symbol for any plant. (27:30)

 

 

Selecting 3D site amenity symbols for RefNotes (28:50)

 

 

Creating the “ground” for your 3D model in CAD (29:40)

Draw your linework using closed polylines. Avoid lines, splines, and arcs. (30:10)

 

A few important commands and techniques you can use (31:30):

  • Using Q Select to view all the components in your drawing. (31:30)
  • Using P Edit and selecting the Multiple option – this allows you to convert all splines, lines, and arcs into polylines. (32:30)
  • Using the Join command (type J) to join polylines into a closed boundary. (33:27)
  • Using the Overkill command to delete duplicate linework that will complicate the process of importing into SketchUp (34:00)
  • Using the Save As command to save the cleaned-up drawing as a new file – a base file for SketchUp. This allows you to retain your original drawing. (34:50)
  • Cleaning up any other linework you don’t want to see in SketchUp (36:00)
  • Zooming to Extents to locate and delete any other unwanted linework (37:00)
  • Using the Land F/X New UCS (User Coordinate System) tool to make sure the base drawing and planting plan line up correctly (37:40)
  • Verifying that the drawings are in the correct units (41:00)

41:20 – 44:19: Sending the Base Through the SketchUp Connection

Assigning the drawing to a Land F/X project (41:35)

 

The SketchUp Connection tool (42:30)

Sending a layer from CAD to SketchUp – each layer you send over will be turned off in CAD to indicate that the layer has indeed been sent to SketchUp. (43:00)

 

Note: Clicking Cancel in the SketchUp Connection tool will turn all layers back on once you’ve exported all the layers you want to export. (44:10)

44:20 – 1:03:49: Building the Base in SketchUp

Note: You can create a template in SketchUp that has a white background if you don’t like the green and blue default background.

 

 

Verifying that the units in SketchUp match the units in your drawing (using Window>Model Info)(44:55)

 

 

The Land F/X settings in SketchUp (Support ID, library folder, version number/update) (45:55)

 

 

Saving the SketchUp file (46:40)

 

 

Assigning the SketchUp file to a Land F/X project (47:10)

 

 

Importing layers from your CAD drawing using the Import Layer tool (47:24)

 

 

Closing off linework to allow SketchUp to create faces (47:50)

Some tutorials will tell you that you need to close off linework by hand. Instead, we recommend finding a SketchUp extension that will automate much of this process (more on that in a few minutes) (48:45)

 

 

Drawing a rectangle (R key) around the site and ending some of the more obvious unclosed lines (49:08)

 

 

Note: In SketchUp, a line will stop when it closes a face. If it doesn’t close a face, it won’t stop.

 

 

Using the Edge Tools 2 tool (available from the Extension Warehouse) to clean up relatively simple CAD work (51:00)

 

 

Note: To clean up more complex CAD linework, we recommend a few paid tools, such as:

  • Extend Close Lines
  • Intersect Overlapping 

 

 

Closing off any other unclosed linework (53:39)

 

 

The Don’t Panic! dialog box: When this dialog box pops up (which it commonly will do during the process of importing CAD objects and linework into SketchUp), always click Fix Now. (55:55)

 

 

Placing materials in the SketchUp model using the Materials window (examples include groundcovers, paving materials, and mulches) (56:35)

 

 

Creating 3D surfaces (buildings, curbs, etc.) using the Push/Pull tool (59:00)

1:03:50 – 1:10:04: Importing Plants and Reference Notes (RefNotes)

Verifying that the units are set correctly in SketchUp (1:04:00)

 

 

Exporting the design (plants and RefNotes) from CAD (1:04:20)

 

 

Note: You’ll need to export from CAD each time you want to import into SketchUp (the exported items won’t stay in the Cloud once you import them). (1:04:50)

 

 

Bringing plants and RefNotes into SketchUp (1:05:10)

Selecting a new SketchUp symbol for a plant (1:05:40)

 

 

Note: Your RefNotes may appear to not have symbols yet. In most cases, however, these symbols will pop up when you bring your RefNotes into your model. (1:06:08)

 

 

Importing plants and RefNotes (1:06:18)

 

 

Manipulating symbols (using Face Me symbols, creating scenes, moving symbols, etc.) (1:06:50)

 

 

Making changes to the block placement in SketchUp and exporting them back to CAD, then importing the new placements into your drawing (1:08:00)

1:10:05 – end: Other Connection Tools

Overview of available tools on the Land F/X SketchUp Connection toolbar in SketchUp (1:10:11)

 

 

Demonstration of the Concept Lines tool (1:11:00)

 

 

Turning a Concept Line into a crosswalk (1:11:40)

 

 

Viewing and editing plant information with the Plant Info tool (1:12:30)

 

 

Webinar Attachments

Download the files linked below to follow along and complete the steps shown in this webinar. Different versions are provided for different unit measurements, so download the version you'd like to work in. To start, navigate to the WORKING DWG folder and open the file M2.38 Concept Bank.dwg.

With the drawing open, open the Projects dialog box and click the Restore button to load the associated project (.lfx file), which you'll also find in the WORKING DWG folder. Detailed instructions on using the Restore button can be found here.

Partially completed Sketchup files are provided for convenience in the SKETCHUP folder. Feel free to start your own SketchUp file from scratch to learn the full workflow featured in the webinar.